Episode two of Justified's second season is a solid standalone that also continues to hand us pieces of a masterful bigger picture.
Last week's episode ("The Gunfighter") started Justified's third season off strong. "Cut Ties" keeps up the standard, but in a different way.
Raylan wakes up in Winona and Gary's house, quickly mistaken for Gary by the realtor who's showing people around. Have a joke about Winona cheating on him with a realtor again. Once Raylan wakes up and pulls himself together, he visits Boyd in prison and actually asks him for relationship advice. Boyd points out that he's sleeping with the woman who killed his brother, so he's probably not the one Raylan wants to be talking to in that department.
Boyd is visibly surprised when Raylan says he's amended his statement to hopefully get Boyd out of prison, since we know that's what Boyd doesn't want. Later that day, Dewey tells Boyd that Dickie Bennett's been pulled out of the general prison population.
The person having the worst day, though, is Art's friend Bill. He's visiting a single mother in the Witness Protection Program, who's expected to testify against Carlos Salazar. You know the moment he says they've never lost a witness who followed the guidelines of WitSec, something bad is going to happen. Sure enough, he picks up a tail (that's Frank John Hughes) who shoots him. At least the guy apologizes for it. That's enough to send Rachel to the witness's doorstep.
After Raylan and Winona talk about their ultrasound (he jokingly compares their unborn child to something from Alien), he runs into Assistant Director Karen Goodall (Carla Gugino). She's taking him to Lexington to see a suspect in Bill's death. "You're different than I remember," she says on the drive over. He asks about her failed marriage. Fans of the short-lived Karen Sisco smile to themselves at the idea that 'Goodall' might not be Karen's maiden name.
The smiling is also short-lived, as Art pays a visit to the guy we know is our shooter. His name is Walter Poe, and he is jumpy (understandably so). Art advises him to pack a bag, while asking him "What happened to Terri?" Uh-oh.
Raylan and Karen pay a visit to another bad guy in a hotel and take both of his thugs down with little of a fight. Once again, the bad guy knows Raylan by name. A belligerent Karen gets him to open the door, but whatever he says is enough to convince Art that Poe needs to be moved.
While driving Poe's car, Art smartly checks the navigation history on its GPS and pulls up in front of the witness's house. A fight ensues between him and Poe that Art easily wins.